1. When we know about the future we normally use the present tense.

  • We use the present simple for something scheduled or arranged:

We have a lesson next Monday.
The train arrives at 6.30 in the morning.
The holidays start next week.
It is my birthday tomorrow.

  • We can use the present continuous for plans or arrangements:

I’m playing football tomorrow.
They are coming to see us tomorrow.
We’re having a party at Christmas.

2. We use will to talk about the future:

  • When we make predictions:

It will be a nice day tomorrow.
I think Brazil will win the World Cup.
I’m sure you will enjoy the film.

  • To mean want to or be willing to:

I hope you will come to my party.
George says he will help us.

  • To make offers and promises:

I'll see you tomorrow.
We'll send you an email.

  • To talk about offers and promises:

Tim will be at the meeting.
Mary will help with the cooking.

3. We use (be) going to:

  • To talk about plans and intentions:

I’m going to drive to work today.
They are going to move to Manchester.

  • When we can see that something is likely to happen:

Be careful! You are going to fall.
Look at those black clouds. I think it’s going to rain.


4. We often use verbs like would like, plan, want, mean, hope, expect to talk about the future:

What are you going to do next year? I’d like to go to University.
We plan to go to France for our holidays.
George wants to buy a new car.

5. We use modals may, might, and could when we are not sure about the future:

I might stay at home tonight, or I might go to the cinema.
We could see Mary at the meeting. She sometimes goes.

6. We can use should if we think something is likely to happen:

We should be home in time for tea.
The game should be over by eight o’clock.

7. Clauses with time words:

In clauses with time words like when, after, and until we often use a present tense form to talk about the future:

I’ll come home when I finish work.
You must wait here until your father comes.
They are coming after they have had dinner.

8. Clauses with if:

In clauses with if we often use a present tense form to talk about the future:

We won’t be able to go out if it rains.
If Barcelona win tomorrow they will be champions.

WARNING: We do not normally use will in clauses with if or with time words:

I’ll come home when I will finish work.
We won’t be able to go out if it will rain rains.

But we can use will if it means a promise or offer:

I will be very happy if you will come to my party.
We should finish the job early if George will help us.

9. We can use the future continuous instead of the present continuous or going to for emphasis when we are talking about plans, arrangements and intentions:

They’ll be coming to see us next week.
I will be driving to work tomorrow.

 

 

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hi, I would be so grateful if u kindly answer my question.
What's difference between "the car door" and "the door of the car"?

Hi Kurdish boy,

I would say that the most common way to describe this object is 'car door' but there is no difference in meaning between the two.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello! I would appreciate your help with the following question.

What is - if any- the difference between these two sentences?

- We have a party this Saturday. Would you like to come?

- We're having a party this Saturday. Would you like to come?

I believe "I have a party" means you are going to a party (as a guest) and "I'm having a party" means you are hosting the party. Is that right?

If so, are these other sentences correct?

- I have two parties this weekend. I don't think I'll get much sleep.

- My company is having a Christmas party this Friday.

- We're having a party to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

Thank you in advance.

Hello blueishbox,

All of what you says sounds correct to me. 'have a party' can be a bit ambiguous and it's the verb tenses that really make the difference here. By the way, if you ever want to be more clear, there's also the expression 'throw a party' (which means to host a party).

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

My dear bro.
Really iam totally confused between these sentences:
1. He studies hard. I think he .... get high marks.
( is going to - will)
2. He is studying hard. I thinh he .... get high marks.
( is going to - will)
How can i differentiate between them, please?
Thanks in advanve.

Hello Mr Ahmed Adel,

We use 'going to' when we have some current evidence which leads us to a logical conclusion, and 'will' when we are making a prediction based on what we know, guess or believe rather than evidence which is before us.

'He is studying hard' would suggest evidence which is before us, and so would lead naturally to 'going to'.

'He studies hard' would suggest general knowledge of the person, and so lead to 'will'.

However, these forms are very subjective as they are based on the perspective of the speaker; context is crucial rather than fixed rules.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hello sir ,
i wrote that did you went to any co any class , but my friends says that did you go any class is the right way . could you please clarify this doubt

regards

Hello marshood,

I'd suggest you read part 3 on our question forms page, which shows how to form a question in the past simple. Your friend is right.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I am a teacher and I have realised the following problems with the present simple and present continuous for future meaning. The sun rises at 6.30 tomorrow v the sun is rising at 6.30 tomorrow (same meaning IMO) The shop closes at 7.00 v the shop is closing at 7.00 (different meaning as the shop has decided just today to close at 7.00 for present continuous and it is timetables to close at 7.00 for present simple). What about this: We leave for Rome on Sunday v We're leaving for Rome on Sunday. It doesn't follow the rules for arrangements since they both mean the same to me. Finally What time does your meeting start v what time is your meeting starting? Don't these both mean exactly the same thing? One thing you can't say is I meet her tomorrow it should be I'm meeting her tomorrow. The point is there are some discrepancies where you can use both present simple and continuous to mean the same thing (OR slightly different meanings as in the shop closing). I am a confused teacher ;(

Hello MartinEFL,

It's a little difficult to follow your questions when they are written as a single block of text - it would help if you could break them up a little to make them easier to follow.

Please remember that this is a site for learners of English rather than teachers of English - our sister-site, Teaching English, is aimed more at the teaching side.

 

I think the source of your confusion is that you misunderstand the nature of aspect in English. The difference between simple and continuous is not primarily an objective choice but rather a choice of aspect, which means a change not in objective reality so much as a change in how the speaker sees the action or state being described. For example, I can either of the following and both are factually correct:

 

I live in Poland.

I'm living in Poland.

The only difference is my perspective of this situation: whether I see it as a permanent situation (the first option) or a temporary state (the second sentence).

 

Similarly, I can describe the train leaving at a given time as a fixed repetitive event ('The train leaves at...') or as a particular arrangement which may or may not be permanent ('The train is leaving at...').

The choice here is subjective. It depends on what the speaker wants to emphasise in the broader communicative context. It is a choice which is subtle and nuanced, not rule-bound and inflexible.

 

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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